When it comes to providing customer support, the confidence of your client depends on the quality that you provide.
Put simply: do a bad job and the reputation - even the future - of your company could be at stake.
Yet in spite of how pivotal customer support is, many companies don’t even have a way to measure quality assurance. And if you don’t have the data, how do you know where you need to step up and make improvements?
So if you’re looking to revolutionize customer support, it’s important to make sure you know the facts. Don’t worry, though. We’ve got a handy guide here to make sure you’re doing it right.
Set Realistic Goals
When it comes to improving on anything, it should go without saying (but we’ll say it anyway): you need to have an understanding of what you’re trying to do. Sure, you want to do better, get better, provide the best, but be more specific.
What are you trying to do better? Do you want to answer customer queries faster? Or perhaps ensure that you get glowing reviews from customers that you deal with? Your first step needs to be making clear and transparent goals.
Which means you need to work out what “good” looks like.
Develop a plan that involves you working out what you want to start doing, what you want to stop doing, and what it is that you need to continue doing. Make sure that you have a comprehensive overview of your systems in place, and how well they are or aren’t working.
The first place to start? Google yourself. See what reviews customers have left you, particularly if they’ve contacted you for support. This should start to give you a decent overview of how your customer support is being received, and how you’re being discussed.
You can also reach out to your existing customer base to ask for their feedback. Be judicious with this, as it can deter customers to be continually bombarded for their feedback. But in general, this is a great way to see the lay of the land.
Finally, take a look at how your competitors are performing, and how well you stack up against them? Use this as an opportunity to see where their customers’ pain points are, and let it allow you to make a strategy that factors in where others’ mistakes have been made.
Get The Right Tools
Once you've decided on a strategy going forward, it's important to make sure you start to monitor your performance. While you could collect data on just about everything, it's vital to decide which of your key performance indicators - or KPIs - you're choosing to prioritize. Not doing so can lead to what is known as "paralysis by analysis".
Then consider ensuring you have the right tools to continue your analysis of your performance. It’s important to remember that wherever and however you are providing customer support are the places you should be monitoring. Is it over the phone? Email? Chat? Each channel will have its own specific KPIs, and you want to make sure you have the right software to allow you to analyze and address the comparative strengths of each channel.
A Note About KPIs: What should you be measuring?
When it comes to your customer service analysis, there are five main KPIs that you need to track. Any more than that and you may find yourself unable to see the wood for the trees.
1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
This is where you directly reach out to your customers to ask how they feel about your company. Your CSAT score is the average of all customer responses.
2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
This metric asks your customers how likely they’d be to refer you to somebody they know. It gives you a decent overview of your customer’s intent and the feeling that your company has given them.
3. First Response Time
When it comes to reaching out to companies, customer satisfaction is massively dependent on the length of time your first response takes.
4. Customer Retention Rate
It costs more money to get a new customer - from 5X to 25X more - than it does to keep an existing customer. You might be able to get a lot of customers who use you once, but this tracks whether or not you can keep them for a longer period of time.
The Right People For The Job
When it comes to how your customers interact with your company, your people are at the heart of the matter. You want to make sure that you have well-trained, motivated, and engaged employees. This means that you’re hiring the right people for the right customer support, and ensuring that those in leadership roles understand how to manage their teams.
Your team leaders should understand their specific targets, as well as have an understanding of the KPI monitoring and how data is received - and what to do if targets are being missed. Transparency when it comes to showing KPIs and targets have shown improved team engagement and productivity. Allow your customer support team to have agency and recognition when they’ve done well.
This does not necessarily have to be a financial incentive - acknowledging and rewarding team members for great work can involve newsletters, rewards, or employee of the month bonuses. Doing so will encourage your team to understand how important their role is, and drive their engagement. It has been proven that engaged employees directly translates to engaged customers, and when you’re talking about the team who are in direct contact with your customers, this is vital.